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Full text of "A search in secret Egypt"

220             A  SEARCH IN SECRET EGYPT
cartouches—King Seti worshipping in the presence of the god Thoth under the sacred tree of Heliopolis, driving the Hittites before his victorious chariot, securing tall cedar trees in distant Lebanon for the flagstaffs of his temples, and returning triumphantly to his own beloved land. There were many other figures; some half nude, others full robed, but all bearing those strangely intense, remote faces which were characteristic of this people. On the southern wall, graven on a stele and let into the brick, hieroglyphs gave record of history's first official treaty; that between Rameses the Great, "the valiant, the son of Seti I, the great ruler of Egypt," and the Hittite King Khetesar, "the son of Meresar, the great chief of Kheta," as the text called him: concluding with the pleasant words: "the good treaty of peace and of brotherhood, setting peace between them for ever/'
I moved away to a narrow uncovered court where a single solid obelisk thrust a pointing pyramidal finger towards heaven and flung a purple shadow to the ground. It bore the royal cartouche of Thothmes I, who had ercted it, and its shaft was covered with three vertical lines of inscriptions. "Horus, Beloved of Truth, King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Amen. He made it as his monument for his father Amen-Ra—the Leader of the Two Lands, raising for him two obelisks, even very great ones, at the double fagade," read part of one of them. Always that grand adoration of the gods.
Farther on, amid the shattered remains of a colonnade, rose another obelisk, taller and more impressive still, like a snake-tongue of flame out of the ground. For almost a hundred feet it spired its way into the sky—the second highest obelisk still existent in the world. This erect monolith of shining pink granite bore on its base *the proud boast that its top had been encased in a mixture of gold and silver, so that it could be seen from a very great distance, and that the entire enterprise of quarrying and transporting the granite from Syene for this and its now vanished fellow-obelisk had taken not more than seven months. It was erected by a woman who was in some ways the Queen Elizabeth, and more, of Egypt; the vigorous Queen Hatshepsu. She sometimes dressed like a man and always showed a strong masculinity in her rule, this long-nosed, strong-jawed lady who flung up lofty obelisks and massive temples, sent out pioneering expeditions, and wielded the sceptre of the Pharaohs no less powerfully because of her sex; whose veil